Surviving the Swamp
Surviving the Swamp
The Everglades of Florida, the swamplands in the Gulf Coast, the Sudd in Africa and the Vasyugan Swamp in western Siberia, all places where you don’t want to find yourself stuck without some knowledge and training. A swamp is a large area of flooding containing shallow bodies of water and dry-land protrusions. In the U.S. swamps are usually littered with a large amount of woody vegetation. The makeup of swamps makes them the perfect location for a number of animals including the highly dangerous alligator. If you are stuck in the swamp remember these few survival tips to help stay alive.
How Can You Avoid a Run-In with a Gator?
In the Florida Everglades there are over one million alligators waiting anxiously for their next meal. In the event you find yourself wading through the soggy terrain of a swamp without an airboat or floatation device you’ll want to protect yourself with a long, hard stick. A solid stick, at least four feet in length, can extend your reach and help you ward off any gators before they are mistakenly bumped. In the event you see a gator, try to climb a tree or find dry land as soon as possible. You can spot underwater gators by their bubbles percolating out of the water.
In addition to using a stick make your presence known by making lots of noise as to not startle your carnivorous friends. Startling an alligator will make it feel threatened and make it more likely to attack. If you are in a situation where you must cross a river, wait until midday when the alligators are least active. You should also cross as the narrowest point and watch the water for at least an hour to spot any movement.
What Are Other Swamp Creatures to be Wary Of?
In case the alligator is not scary enough, many swamps contain poisonous snakes such as the coral snake that lives in the Everglades. This snake also has a similar looking non-venomous friend called the scarlet king that you can distinguish by looking at the stripes on it. Remember the adage “red on yellow, kill a fellow; red on black, friend of Jack.”
Building Shelter in the Swamp
The safest shelter you can build in the swamp is what is called a swamp bed. This is a tree-based platform that allows you to stay out of the water to avoid alligators and other predators. You’ll need four vertical trees that you place in the ground to form a rectangle. Make sure they place you high enough above the water to keep you out of high-tide. Next get two horizontal poles that you secure to the vertical poles and secure them with vines. Finally lash together enough branches using vines to span the width of your side poles. For padding use cabbage palm leaves for comfort. Avoid the use of Spanish moss because it contains chiggers and no-see-ums that will make your sleep worse than it already is.
Avoiding Jungle Rot
Jungle rot is a fungal skin infection that results from constant moisture. To avoid this take off your shoes, socks and wet clothes and allow your skin to dry out every few hours.